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Grateful Dead Live at Cole Field House, U of Maryland on 1981-03-07

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Grateful Dead Live at Cole Field House, U of Maryland on 1981-03-07

Topics Live concert

Alabama Getaway-> Greatest Story Ever Told, Dire Wolf, Me & My Uncle-> Big River, Candyman-> CC Rider, Jack A Roe, Passenger, Bird Song-> Looks Like Rain-> Deal Iko Iko-> Lost Sailor-> Saint Of Circumstance-> Drums-> Truckin'-> Black Peter-> Around & Around-> Johnny B. Goode, E: One More Saturday Night

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Cole Field House, U of Maryland
Location College Park, MD

Source Audience Recording: Sennheiser 421's
Lineage Senn 421 mics> SonyD5> MC> CD> ?> EAC> SHN
Taped by Jim Wise
Transferred by


Taper: Jim Wise
Lineage: Senn 421 mics>SonyD5>MC>CD>?>EAC>SHN


Reviewer: chris phillips - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 22, 2015
Subject: *****
amazing first set
Reviewer: kbmill - - June 24, 2015
Subject: bread crumb
Much conjecture regarding Jerry and this show in the reviews. I see the set list, but I don't hear anything in the playing. I do agree that the first set drives hard from the beginning. Hard to follow that up.
Reviewer: clementinescaboose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 21, 2014
Subject: Incredible Bird Song
Probably my favorite post-73 version. Just EPIC. Lots of other nice stuff tucked away in this great show, too. What are you waiting for?
Reviewer: snake00 - favoritefavoritefavorite - April 29, 2011
Subject: Jerry needed a chair
I too was at this show, and am alway's surprised when this show get's mentioned as one of the greats. The did play a long interesting Bird Song that night, but this show went downhill in the 2nd set. Jerry seemed either ill or quite wasted, and at one point, actually sat down on a stool while he played. He also only sang 2 songs in the 2nd set. That was about my 15th show and I remember thinking afterwords, 'well they cant be great EVERY night'. To top it off, the Terps lost the ACC championship that same night.
Reviewer: DougBee - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 8, 2007
Subject: first set recollections
The three songs that ended the first set were. to my albeit hazy recollections, mesmerizing. Bird Song featured those interesting synth-guitar noodlings: and I have a vivid memory of Looks Like Rain stretching on, with Garcia laying little flashing notes over Weir's repetitive vocals. The stage was bathed in blue light, and roses were being tossed over Bobby from behind the stage.
Reviewer: RMtHigh - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 15, 2007
Subject: 4th GD show - first non-Radio City show
Yes, the secret is out. Cole Field House had poor acoustics. You can clearly hear Jerry playing with the echo during Alabama and it's not as painful when you listen with that info.

During the Jam after Saint, I did not hear the Eleven but did hear extended Saint jam, perhaps a bar of Heaven Help the Fool, and certainly Uncle John's, which they played the next show. Terrapin Station would have been perfect in that spot since Cole Field House was the home of the Terrapins at that time. But back in '81, Phil would come out on stage early by himself to check his equipment. That night, some buttheads in the front told Phil how they "had to play Terrapin that night" and that basically killed any chance that they might.

And yes, I remember the house lights coming up during Deal, maybe a couple times. They also did at Hampton a couple months later. At the time, we thought it was because the set was nearing the 90 minute mark and the sound team wanted to let Jerry know that the tape was going to run out! But this is speculation.
Reviewer: Rich D - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 7, 2007
Subject: The Eleven!
I can't believe no has mentioned it, but there's a very cool, but short eleven jam starting around the 3:30 mark of the jam after st. of circumstance (last's about 2 mim.). It's awesome -Jerry's on it. I'm a long time fan since 81', but never heard of such a thing - any other known examples out there from the mid 70's on?

The show's good too - the 1st set closing bird song, looks like rain, and deal are worth the download. Aiko is also very strong. Hell, Jerry even puts a little extra into alabama.

Sound is probably 3 1/2, but with the eleven jam it's deffinitely a 4 rating
Reviewer: L. Rosley - favoritefavoritefavorite - December 30, 2006
Subject: Good show, poor recording
A great Deal, here, but you can't hear much of this show. Jerry's guitar is there, so are the drums, and you can hear a bit of Brent. Phil is almost completely inaudible, and it's as if Bob wasn't playing that night. You can tell that Jerry is doing something interesting in Bird Song, but you can hardly call it a jam, since you can't hear the other instruments. Unfortunate, but true.

For a decent audience recording of a great show from this time period, see the 3-5-81 show.
Reviewer: brilo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 20, 2006
Subject: House Lights!
Just had to share a show memory. First, that insane Bird Song - never heard a first set jam like that before or after. But then towards the end of a lengthy and hot Deal to close the set, all of a sudden EVERY house light came on for perhaps 4 seconds, then we were plunged back into darkness. The band didn't skip a beat, maybe didn't even notice, but several thousand minds were simultaneously blown for a while. Overall, a solid four plus of a show.
Reviewer: eyesworld1 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 20, 2006
Subject: A Nice Day
I was there and was blown away by the first set. The acoustics of the venue were much to be desired. The sound did not travel well and corners were quiet zones. Like a true gym would.
The second set was a little disjointd as song selection was hit or miss. Mostly they did not seem as one band, or even soloists ringing their stuff out, but rather as a band seemingly thinking of the next stop along the way. They were not ON, as second set did not really come across as cohesive.
I had a lot of fun hanging out with my friends from Balt. who had friends at College Park. My girlfriend at the time, or soon to be, we were all hanging out with her ex or ex to be. I was a little apprehensive, but he was cool. And we all loved eachother.

My name is John and my all time favorite ender or encore JBG was very fitting for a Great Day.

Jerry knew all, long LIVE his memory.
Any of my friends out there? Kim, etc.
Reviewer: SpiderBaby - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 10, 2006
Subject: Wow, what a Bird Song
First of all, it is so cool to think that if you lived in Maryland you could catch the boys playing at College Park. I went to a sister school of College Park and I would have loved to have had the Dead come play. But to the music: Yeah, this Bird Song is amazing. After a while I had forgotten that it was still Bird Song- one of those lapse of time moments that tends to happen while listening to this band. Not a bad recording at all.
Reviewer: Joe Shlobotnick - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 6, 2006
Subject: Educating Skysby
Dead 101: Reasons why your story is full of holes- Jerry reminisced about some shows that the Dead played back in the late 60s, during which he felt the band was struggling and things were not going well at all. This is the famous "pushed Phil down the stairs" incident he always referred to (see "The Grateful Dead Movie" for a clip of this interview).

Jerry said that he thought the "music was fucked" and that "everything was a struggle". He then chuckles about how, when they listened to tapes of the shows months later, the shows were "crackling with energy" and the band used them on their next album (I believe it was Anthem of the Sun). He finishes by musing that this was when the band learned not to judge their performance by how they felt about it afterwards.

I hate to have to state the obvious, but if you never heard this before, you haven't been paying very close attention to the band. Here's a tip, listen to the show to find out if its good. Don't say its a good show because you had a "great time". And don't dismiss it because of some half-assed story based on heresay that is barely believable.
Reviewer: jhender501 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 21, 2005
Subject: 2 Words
Holy Cow!

Reviewer: Earl Boehm - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 20, 2005
Subject: Wait till the Deal goes down!
hey skysby! they were jerkin your starry ass of at the skyport. Bet they all had a good laugh>also makes you feel they could do better-heh-aye? They knew it was grate! download, shaddup and enjoy!
Reviewer: rustystrings - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 28, 2005
Subject: Oh What a Night
This one was outa control. My buddy and I walked into Cole, walked up front and sat down front row straight off Jerry's mike to smoke a bowl. The lights went out and we were left there for 3 hours.

The energy was over the top. Fav moments, bird song->looks like rain. By the final refrain of LLR it was pouring inside. The Aiko started and you could see everyone upstairs in a circle holding hands and spinnin.

Indescribable. Still gives me chills 25 years later. I don't know that I have ever heard a great recording of this show. But I have gone through many cassests and I don't think it matters on this one.
Reviewer: blackthroatedwind - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 20, 2005
Subject: BIRDSONG!
i recently revisited this show while waiting out a severe thunderstorm in a smoky car beside a beautiful river in upstate maine. my fly fishing buddy and i sat pretty much silent and astounded throughout our listening and the only time that our silence was broken was when he turned to me and whispered (somewhat reverently): "is this still birdsong?"

while i can't speak to the "i know the guy who went out with the sister of the cousin of the roadie who used to shoot up jerry's leg" story posted below (though it may well be true...), i can state with certainty that the spring tour of '81 was notoriously out of control and the first set of this show exemplifies the dead at full throttle.

while the term "best" is somewhat irrelevent when talking about such a prolific and eclectic band, i believe this to be the "best" brent era birdsong period: worth downloading and twice the price of admission for this tune alone though the rest of the show is smokin' to boot. janis was smiling down on this one...

thanks to mr. wise (et al) for all of the killer quality tunes. please keep 'em coming!
Reviewer: rromeo923 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 25, 2005
Subject: Hey Popskull! That was my first show too!
And no one is going to tell me that that show wasnt awesome!!
Reviewer: popskull - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 8, 2005
Subject: My first show
Thus was my first show.....its great to be able to get the tapes and relive it
Reviewer: skysby - favoritefavorite - January 27, 2005
Subject: The Dead Themselves Said this Show Sucked
This is not to dis those who liked the show, but I kid you not. A buddy of mine took the Washington DC shuttle to NYC on the day after the Cole Field show, and ran smack into the Dead at the final gate. It took him a few seconds to process what he was seeing, but there they were, standing on line and waiting to board. He had to say something so he said what any Deadhead would say. To Bob and Brent he said, "Great show last night!" They laughed. Nahh, they said. "Bad set. That was a baad set. We just didn't have it." Words to that effect. They couldn't have been more unequivocal about it.
I always found this fascinating because I was at the show too and I sure didn't think it was a bad set. Then again, I was an 18-year-old starry-eyed Deadhead who knew a good show from a great show but not necessarily that the Dead could ever truly play a bad set. But even though the band was not happy with its performance that night, that isn't the end-all. John Lennon denounced some of his classic Beatles stuff, for example. But I must say that the band's own assessment of this show--and I'm sure they'd say the same thing about lots of shows--provides some much-needed perspective. I mean, come on, sometimes the guys just didn't have it. This is one of those nights, at least according to the men who played it.
Reviewer: Geoffsky - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 15, 2005
Subject: Too Hot To Handle
Little history - The electricity level was so high on this one we lost 3 members of our party during the intermission. Found em the next morning. Guitars in the first set were just too wild. C'mon folks a 10 minute Deal to end the set. Every song was played on purpose, nothing just to pass the time. Ever since this night Aiko has been the key word in our world for it's crazy from this point on. Get over the static, maybe the other copy is clearer but this one is definitely hot stuff.
Reviewer: Steinbergerman - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 1, 2004
Subject: the Bird Song
I can just picture Jerry looking up around the 15 minute mark, like "oh right, we're playing a concert here." Great example of being lost in the moment.
Reviewer: cam - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 24, 2004
Subject: gd 3-7-81
I was at this show, and this recording sounds better than I remember it sounding live. It is nicely balanced, with minimal audience noise. A great and long Birdsong to boot.
Reviewer: billydlions - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 1, 2004
Subject: great show
The first set is really smokin. Hold on to your hat, but check out the Me & My Uncle! That's right. How many times can you say that. Jerry was on fire today. Too bad there's no crispy board to hear this show.
Reviewer: Hokker - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 28, 2004
Subject: Killer Birdsong!
This recording sounds kind of "distant" for a supposed FOB. Other than that this recording has a more "full" sound than the nak 700 version(IMHO) and the crowd is not too loud. The first set is nice but the Bird song just smokes. This is my favorite version of Birdsong hands down. The second set starts out high energy with a really nice Iko and the sailor > Saint is just inspired. Please don't pass this puppy up just because it is an 81.
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Uploaded by
Jonathan Aizen
on 4/26/2004
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